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Trump, ex-strategist Bannon embrace at gala amid 2024 buzz

By Jake Beardslee · December 10, 2023

In brief…

  • Former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon embraced Trump at a NY gala, signaling renewed ties
  • Trump gave speech doubling down on "dictator" remarks and policy plans if reelected
  • Bannon suggested on a podcast he's advising Trump's preparations for a possible 2024 run
  • Bannon had turbulent West Wing tenure before departing in 2017, later charged over border wall fundraising
Trump and former strategist Steve Bannon, who had a turbulent relationship after Bannon's White House departure, shared an embrace at a gala where Trump gave a controversial speech, while Bannon has indicated he is advising Trump's potential 2024 campaign.  Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America/Tom Williams/Wikimedia

Former President Donald Trump and his former chief strategist Stephen Bannon shared an embrace at the New York Young Republican Club’s annual gala on Saturday night, signaling a reconciliation between the two. A photo captured by Reuters shows the pair smiling with their arms around each other at the event, which included speeches by Trump, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.).

The gala program listed Bannon as one of several honored guests, along with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, The Hill reports. Giuliani remains an ally of Trump and is currently a co-defendant with the former president in a Georgia election case over efforts to overturn Trump’s 2020 loss in the state.

Bannon had a turbulent stint in Trump’s inner circle, serving as CEO of Trump’s 2016 campaign before joining the administration as chief strategist, only to depart in 2017 amid West Wing shakeups. Their relationship was further strained following the 2018 publication of the book “Fire and Fury” with inflammatory quotes about Trump attributed to Bannon, though they reconciled when Trump pardoned Bannon on federal charges in 2021.

According to The Hill, in his speech at the gala, Trump seemed to reinforce previous comments he made suggesting he would take ‘dictator’ style actions immediately upon taking office again if re-elected president in 2024. Specifically, Trump indicated he would swiftly act to seal the southern border and open up protected federal lands for oil and gas drilling.

On a recent podcast, Bannon suggested he is involved with Trump’s planning for a potential second White House term, stating: “And I want the ‘Morning Joe’ producers that watch us and all the producers that watch us — this is just not rhetoric. We’re absolutely dead serious.” He warned media, “You cannot have a constitutional republic and allow what these deep-staters have done to the country.”